Behind the Scenes

A reporter details her adventure following six students through a four-year medical school journey. 

Match Day marked the end of a journey for medical school students Edmundo Esparza and Jonas Kruse (back row) and Quinn Losefsky, Ive Mota Avila, Charna Kinard and Dilan Shah (front row). Photo by Joyce Marshall

Behind the Scenes

A reporter details her adventure following six students through a four-year medical school journey. 

When TCU Magazine asked me in 2018 whether I’d consider following a group of students for all four years of their education at the brand-new medical school, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. My editors could find no other person or publication ever to do such a project in terms of length or scope. I was game.

Then came the second thoughts in the months leading up to the day TCU’s medical school opened in July 2019. Would the science trip me up? What about the blood? Most of my trepidation, though, came down to a central anxiety: What if I didn’t like one or even most of the students?

Ive Avila, who owns a ranch in Austin, checks on her flock of chickens in the backyard of her Fort Worth home with help from her toddler son, Quentin. Photo by Joyce Marshall

Spoiler alert: I like them and did from the start. To a person, they are smart, kind and very good at what they do.

They’re all so different, too.

Edmundo Esparza is a 6-foot-4 dimpled gentle giant who answered even the most intrusive questions with patience and grace.

Charna Kinard cares deeply about people and is quick to offer meaningful help.

Dilan Shah asks big questions and doesn’t shy away from hard truths.

Jonas Kruse exudes vigor, optimism and even joy alongside his potent intellect. He rarely complains.

Ive Mota Avila rallied in the wake of tragedy with the kind of personal courage that gave me goosebumps. I’m in awe of her.

Quinn Losefsky ’19, the vivacious baby of our group, dazzled me with her growth mindset. She takes any challenge or setback and squeezes as much out of it as she can.

During the lockdown months of 2020 and through much of 2021, I spoke with Losefsky more often than anyone outside my immediate family.

For the fourth year alone, I took more than 300 pages of notes from conversations with all six of them.

Though the pandemic prevented me from observing the students interacting with patients, each could recall details of interactions with such detail and clarity that I felt like I was there.

Starting in January 2022, future psychiatrist Dilan Shah began working toward a certificate through the Neeley School of Business in health policy and management. Photo by Joyce Marshall

I was continually amazed at their passion for service and impressed by how entrepreneurial they became in finding mentors, organizing clubs and activities, and seeking educational experiences. Like so much in life, medical school is what you make of it.

Their vulnerability often took my breath away. They made me proud.

Over the years, they’ve gotten to know my story, too. In September 2022, my teenage son, Chip, and I had dinner with Kruse in New York City while he was doing an away rotation on the Upper East Side.

I had dinner a few months later with Kinard and her mother in Chicago’s Loop. Early on when a family member had major surgery, they all gave me insights and encouragement, calming my nerves.

I have worried about them, cheered their victories and even cried over what life has thrown their way.

Through it all, I’ve felt grateful and humbled at how each has let me into their lives. 

To “my six,” as I’ll forever think of them, I’ll say this:

I plan to keep calling you. (You knew I would!) 

I want to hear about your triumphs and the hard stuff, too. While I dread saying goodbye, I know you are going to soar like you did at TCU. 

Thank you.

Quinn Losefsky entered TCU in 2015 as an undergraduate knowing she wanted to become a surgeon. Eight years later with the same dream, she assisted on complicated surgeries in Fort Worth, San Diego and New York City. Photo by Joyce Marshall

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